Gabe Kapler's Giants have claimed sole possession of the best record in baseball for most of the 2021 MLB season.
And nobody saw that coming.
With how great San Francisco has been this season -- playing far above everyone's expectations -- Kapler likely will be one of the finalists for the National League Manager of the Year award.
With an eye-popping 80-44 record on the year, the Giants have won by way of the long ball, excellent starting pitching in the first half of the season, and dominant relief pitching in the second half of the season. On top of that, they have a close-knit group of players who pride themselves on playing a selfless, team-first brand of baseball.
Giants play-by-play announcer Dave Flemming strongly believes that Kapler is deserving of the award.
“First of all, it’s a slam dunk that he’s the Manager of the Year," Flemming told 95.7 The Game's "The Morning Roast" on Monday. "I don’t think there’s any (debate). If he doesn’t win that thing then just fold up shop, because who else would you be giving it to?”
“We don’t even need to be down in that clubhouse" Flemming continued. "Even (myself), I do every Giants game, and I’m not on the plane like I usually am, I’m not in the locker room. It’s harder for me to just totally get a pulse for this team than it would be in a normal year. It still is more difficult. But I don't need that access this year to know what’s going on."
With as deep of a roster as the Giants have, not everyone will get consistent playing time. Since veterans such as Evan Longoria, Tommy La Stella and Brandon Belt have returned from the injured list, players like Donovan Solano, Darin Ruf and Wilmer Flores have reverted back to bench roles, and still continue to thrive in the situations they are put in.
"The willingness of everybody to accept a certain role, even if they’re having a really good year and then maybe taking some fewer at-bats," Flemming said. "Not just without complaint, but with 100 percent of support from their teammates tells you all you need to know about this culture that has been created down there."
Rallying together major league baseball players isn't easy. These are the best of the best, and getting everyone to work hard and play a selfless brand of baseball is something that only the best managers can do.
"That is so hard to do at this level where you have grown, professional athletes who are used to the highest level of success, playing for their own contracts, their own resumes and they’re buying in the way that they are?" Flemming said. "That is Gabe and his coaches and they deserve all the credit in the world for that.
“The players get a lot of credit too. They brought in a group of guys who are willing to do that. They value character, they value being good teammates and that has paid off also, but Gabe and his coaches deserve a huge chunk of credit for that.”
With 38 games remaining, Kapler's Giants will be put to the ultimate test as they look to not only win the NL West, but make a deep run into October.